BOOKENDS AND BEGINNINGS Review – A Haven, An Enclave, A Creative Corner? You Decide!

Ahhhhhh! What a breath of fresh air Bookends and Beginnings is! 

The refurbished former Bookman’s Alley, an Evanston institution for as long as most Evanstonians can remember has, like the proverbial phoenix, risen in triumph with new vitality, charm, even a sense of humor. 

The Unemployed Philosopher's Guild

The essence of Bookman’s Alley, is very much present, cohabiting with the new flare, fixtures and fun.

A Popular Spot during the Summer Fest and Fairs

The new owners, Nina Barrett, a professionally trained chef and food reporter and Jeffery Garrett, an academic research librarian, have merged their unique and substantial backgrounds by creating an amiably beckoning space for books, book lovers, cooks, and book collectors, adult and children readers and the impossible to pigeon-hole. It’s so inviting!

And lots of customers accepted the invitation! Business was so strong during Evanston’s summer fests and fairs, the Garrett-Barrett husband-and-wife-team decided to stay open seven days a week. So now the book store is a place that celebrates intellectual curiosity, creative expression and new pathways almost non-stop.

Do read Natalie Wainwright’s superb back story in the Evanston RoundTable. Here’s the link. I’ll wait.

Need an invitation?


Here’s a short list of exciting, inviting coming events. Get out your calendar.  You don’t want to miss any of them:

Preview of coming Attractions:

On September 18, I and a group of photography lovers spent an evening at Bookends and Beginnings celebrating and pondering the remarkable and puzzling work of the reclusive photographer Vivian Maier.


Richard Cahan, the author of two books about Ms. Maier, Vivian Maier Out of the Shadows and EYE TO EYE Photographs by Vivian Maier and co-presenter Jeffery Goldstein, who bought the famous storage locker shared their personal excitement with us in such a relaxed, intimate way!  It felt as natural as an after dinner party chat (with celebrities!)

We, a fascinated, engaged crowd, were still both puzzled and baffled by her motives and thrilled by the simple honesty of her images.  What an intriguing and engrossing evening!

Do know that you can still see a comprehensive exhibit of Maier’s photos (without the insightful commentary) at the Chicago History Museum until the end of the year.

Now for the Coming Events:

The Bookman's Alley Bronze Plaque

October 2, at 5:30 p.m.: Bookends and Beginnings will be honoring Roger Carlson and Bookman's Alley by unveiling a plaque marking this legendary bookstore's 33-year history.

Carol LaChapelle

October 4, 11, and 18 from 1-3 pm: Carol LaChapelle: writer, teacher and author of Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Stories will lead participants in practicing several different journal-writing techniques. Open to all who would like to polish their journaling technique. Limited to 8 people; cost is $150. Register with Carol at [email protected] or by calling 773.981.2282.

Thrice in October . . . save the dates!

Sunday 10/5 at 3 pm; Saturday 10/11 at 3 pm; Wednesday 10/15 at 5:30 pm: Fishbowl Shakespeare Sonnets: Come once or come thrice! Join prolific audiobook narrator Paul Fleschner to explore the sounds of Shakespeare's sonnets. Pick random sonnets from a "Shakespeare Fishbowl" containing all 154 sonnets. Paul will perform the chosen sonnets and then discuss them—especially how sounds were embedded in the sonnets by Shakespeare. 

Paul Fleschner has narrated over 100 hours of Audiobooks and was recently named an "Audible Approved" Narrator. His longest title was Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Poet, Lover, Statesman, and Spy in the Court of Henry VIII. 

Learn more about Paul Fleschner.

Got FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)? Bring your calendar to the Bookends and Beginnings: Bookends and Beginnings Facebook page

Photos: Bookends and Beginnings and Vivian Maier












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